Whether you are traveling for work or pleasure, it can be tough to navigate the world of ticket purchasing, visas and airport layovers.
Luckily, with some preparation, you can turn the stress of travelling into a more relaxed experience.

Applying For a Passport

You can sometimes apply for this via your bank, otherwise via your local branch of Home Affairs. Please see the section under government. Click here to go there now.

Applying For a Visa

South Africans often have a harder time when preparing to travel abroad since our passports require that we have VISAs for most of the places we visit. Currently, at least 92 countries require South Africans to have a travel visa.

America, Europe or Australia

When flying to these first-world countries, you’ll need to give yourself a lot of extra time when applying for a VISA because the process can be really lengthy. Make sure you apply for a visa around three months before you travel. You’ll want to keep a list of all the documents you need to gather when applying for the visa so that you don’t forget anything.

What You Need To Apply


1. A Valid Passport

You will need a valid passport before you apply for a visa. Make sure your passport expiry date is at least three months after you return home from your trip. You also need to have at least two or three blank pages in your passport for the stamps to and from your journey.

2. Two Visa Photographs

To apply for your visa, you will usually need at least two photos (50mm x 50mm). It’s a good idea to have these photos taken by a professional. You can also usually have them done at Home Affairs, but they could be a little more expensive there.

3. Proof of Funds

You’ll usually need to prove that you can support yourself while travelling in order to obtain a visa. The country you are visiting will usually stipulate how much you need to have in your bank before you take the trip – this differs from country to country. You’ll need to prove you have this amount by providing three month’s bank statements.

It’s also quite common for you to have to show that you have your flights and your accommodation booked before they approve your visa. The only consulate who doesn’t suggest this is the USA – they stipulate you should have your visa before making any payments for flights or accommodation.

For those who are staying with friends and family, a letter from these individuals, complete with their passport number and signature, usually needs to be provided.

4. Your Visa Application Form

You will usually be able to download this from the consulate of the country you are planning to visit.

5. Travel Insurance

You might be required to provide proof that you have travel insurance when going abroad.

6. Any Extras

Any additional extras will be found on the consulate website of the country you are visiting. Once again, give yourself more than enough time to gather all the required documentation, especially if you’re travelling with children. A visa application can take anywhere from 3 to 21 days to be completed. You can usually apply up to 90 days before travel.

The Schengen Visa

The Schengen Visa covers 26 different European countries and it can be one of the most confusing visas to apply for. If you’re travelling to a few different Schengen areas, you’ll usually be required to apply for the visa at the consulate of the country where you’ll be staying the longest. For example, if you’re visiting France for 15 days and then Switzerland for 21 days, you’ll need to apply at the Swiss Embassy for the visa. In the event you’ll be staying in France for 8 days and in Switzerland for 8 days, you’ll need to apply for a visa at the consulate of the country in which you’ll be landing first.

Traveling As a Dual Citizen

If you’re travelling as a dual citizen of one of these countries, you’re in luck since this passport is going to open a lot more doors for you. Make sure that you always leave and enter South Africa on your South African passport, however, as that is a legal requirement.

Traveling With a Child

If you are travelling with a child, you need to make sure you know what documents you need to be travelling with. In most cases, when travelling with a child, both parents will need to be available to complete the visa application, regardless of whether or not you are married. In the event one parent has died, you’ll need to bring along their death certificate.

Handy tip: When travelling with a child, you’ll need their unabridged birth certificate. Make sure you apply for this well in advance since it can take up to eight weeks to get it from Home Affairs.

Plan For The Worst

Whenever you are travelling, it’s important that you prepare for the worst, just in case something should happen while you’re away from home. Firstly, make certified copies of your passport and keep these in a separate bag to the originals. You can have certified copies made at a police station, bank or post office. Always leave one of these copies at home with a friend or relative.

Secondly, make sure you know where the SA consulate or embassy is in every city where you are travelling. Keep the numbers and addresses on your phone, as well as additional copies with you in a separate bag.

The following map will show you what sort of visa (if any) you’ll need when traveling to various areas of the world.

Buying A Plane Ticket

Setting off to somewhere new is an exciting experience, but sadly, most people don’t get to travel nearly as often as they’d like to because of the high costs associated with air travel.

For those savvy travellers, however, flying doesn’t have to be so expensive, especially as there are a wide range of ways to cut down the expenses associated with flights. By following these tips, you can snatch up a great deal on your next trip.

1. Know When to Buy Your Ticket

Did you know flight prices will change depending on what day of the week you purchase your tickets? Stick to Mondays or Tuesdays when it comes to paying for a flight.

If you’re purchasing flights for a holiday, it’s usually best to do it in the afternoon. Mornings are when business people are purchasing their commuting flights and so the costs tend to increase during this time.

When it comes to the best time to fly in the year, February and August are the cheapest months to travel.

You can sometimes apply for this via your bank, otherwise via your local branch of Home Affairs. Please see the section under government.

2. Use Incognito

Due to the cookies on your browser, airlines will actually increase their prices to those searching for tickets in a bid to convince travellers to buy their tickets before the prices increase even more.

Because of this, it’s important that you search for flights in incognito mode.

3. Steer Clear of Popular Destinations

There are some destinations that South Africans simply cannot seem to get enough of when it comes to travelling overseas, including Thailand, Mauritius and Bali.

This means that tickets to these destinations tend to skyrocket around the holiday season.

Instead of paying a small fortune for tickets to these areas, why not try some lesser-visited, but equally amazing destinations, such as Mozambique, Sri Lanka, Windhoek, Turkey or Vietnam?

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